Sunday, 30 November 2014

A Póg a day... (Póg Froyo, Dublin)

Breakfast; The most important meal of the day. We had some good and bad breakfast experiences in Dublin, but Póg was my favourite! 


Póg (Irish for kiss!) is a health food cafe specialising in froyo, with a variety of clean/paleo treats on offer. They serve up nutritious smoothies, juices, soups and amazing looking salads with just about any leaf, veg, protein and nut you can think of available. There's also coconut water, Quest bars, almond milk, chia seeds... if it's good for you, they sell it. I loved the bright, clean decor and little speech bubbles on the walls.


It was breakfast time though, so I said no to juice (as good as they sounded!) and opted for a standard green tea and some protein pancakes! Studies have shown that eating protein in the morning keeps you fuller for longer and reduces cravings for rubbish throughout the day, so I always do my best to include some sort of protein in my breakfast. Póg also serve protein porridge but this was definitely a
pancake day.


You can choose any 2 toppings from the selection on the counter to go with your pancakes. Or more for an extra 50c. There's pretty much anything you could imagine - what would you have? Gordon made his healthy breakfast as unhealthy as possible by choosing white chocolate sauce... with white chocolate buttons. As you do! I went for more nutritious options - strawberries, banana and peanut butter. Mmm, peanut butter... 

The small stacks of pancakes didn't look like much but they were actually really filling and tasted so good!  


A happy, healthy start to our second day in Dublin!

Christy xx

Friday, 28 November 2014

Our First Night in Dublin

Have you ever been to Ireland? Last week Gordon and I jetted off to the Emerald Isle to celebrate his 30th birthday in style! We arrived in Dublin with hungry bellies on a cold, rainy afternoon. After checking into the super stylish Fleet Street Hotel in the heart of Temple Bar, we headed out to explore the area.


Grafton Street was pretty with all the sparkly Christmas lights and got us feeling festive! Balfes is located just off Grafton Street, on Balfes Street (funnily enough) and is one of The Westbury Hotel's restaurants. I had read reviews before so when we stumbled across the restaurant we headed straight in. Everything at Balfes was right up my street. It has a sophisticated New York vibe, was full of well dressed diners and served great cocktails. 


The food was just as good - we both had burgers in perfectly toasted brioche buns which were massive and difficult to eat, but tasted amazing. Despite all of this, I wouldn't recommend a visit. Unfortunately the service (or lack of) was a total let down. We were seated, our orders taken, food served and that was it. Nobody asked how our food was, if we'd like more drinks, if we'd like water (I was dying of thirst!) or even if we were finished when they eventually whipped our plates away, without so much as a smile! Meanwhile we watched as they fell over themselves to top up water and wine glasses for others. I can only assume it's because we were dressed more casually? Whatever the reason it was a total disappointment and we decided to leave rather than enjoy more cocktails as originally planned.


It was a blessing in disguise though as we ended up drinking at 37 Dawson Street - a quirky late night haunt that resembles some sort of vintage champagne bar. It was dimly lit, with high ornate golden ceilings, full of mismatched furniture, antiques and random... stuff. I honestly can't think of a better word than stuff. There was a gold sequin horse for God's sake! I'll let you see for yourself... 


We came in from the rain to cosy seats by the fire, with Rudolph above our heads! Cheery, friendly waitresses brought us cosmos and long island iced teas and humoured me when I made them take cheesy photos of us next to the heart shaped fireplace. We could of stayed here all night but dragged ourselves away to explore another bar, just a few doors down the street.

Peruke & Periwig...


Another cool, dimly lit cocktail bar with great service. The two bartenders were happy to chat away and tell us about the drinks and things to do in the city. It was a very relaxed, open atmosphere and again we felt comfortable enough to stay all night. Both Peruke & Periwig and 37 Dawson Street serve food which is ideal if you wanted to just do everything in one place!


That may look like a glass of water... it's actually an Invisible Iced Tea! Basically a long island iced tea made with cola essence, rather than actual coca-cola. Gordon said it tasted like cola cubes. Most of the cocktails were classics with an unusual twist. My "X-Rated" was a Pornstar Martini made with lychee and served with a shot of sake.

I loved their Cocktail Alphabet and all the quotes written beneath the drinks. One of which felt particularly fitting for our first night in Dublin...

"For those who are lost, there will always be cities that feel like home."

Christy xx

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

in the gym #34


FOOD

My body fat is down and muscle is up again. I'd of liked it to be down more but considering I've had a few "cheat" meals - all the food and cocktails I had at The Filling Station, plus the champagne and birthday cake this weekend - I think I'm lucky it's down at all! We're away on holiday soon so with that and the festive celebrations coming up, my goal for the rest of the year it to at least maintain my current weight. 


EXERCISE

Monday - Boxercise
Tuesday - Circuits
Wednesday - Metafit & weights.
Thursday - Weights. (and my only long lie of the week!)
Friday - Metafit.
Saturday - Kettlebells & metafit
Sunday - Rest day.

I'm loving the early morning classes! It fires up the metabolism and the endorphins keep me in good spirits for the rest of the day, plus I have more energy in the morning so put in more effort - especially with metafit. Do you prefer training in the morning or evening?

Christy xx

Monday, 17 November 2014

Christmas at The Filling Station

The Filling Station launches their Christmas menu today! I'd eaten in an Edinburgh branch of this classic American restaurant but never ventured into the Aberdeen one until recently. Last Tuesday I skipped my usual kettlebell class to go along to a preview of the seasonal food and drink they have to offer. Gordon came along as my plus one (he does have to drive me through after all!) and we arrived to a (literally) warm welcome of mulled cider cocktails.


Delicious! My first and favourite cocktail.

The evening kicked off with a bit of a cocktail masterclass from award-winning mixologist Andy Pearson. He was charmingly funny and spoke passionately about his Christmas creations, sharing the ideas and family traditions that inspired the cocktails, which are exclusive to the Filling Station.


Andy invited a few bloggers behind the bar to teach them the tricks of the trade. First up was the Mimosa - or bucks fizz, American style. A brunch favourite that is enjoyed by many on a cold Christmas morning!

Joelle from February Girl shaking her stuff! 

Next up was Egg Nog... I tried egg nog for the first time in a Santa-filled beer hall in the west village of New York last Christmas, so the memories it brought back to me were very fitting to the occasion. Andy's version contains gingerbread syrup and is topped with rum-infused raisins -yum!

The chocolate orange martini was up next and Laura was a pro! It's not Terry's...

Laura from Liparazzi 

After all the booze tasting it was time to line our stomachs for round 2. Andy Hamilton, the Filling Station's Assistant Exec Chef introduced himself, and talked us through the dishes we'd be sampling and how they came together.


Our first course was actually a taste of a vegetarian main dish - the creamy mushroom risotto - and goat cheese bruschetta bites. Both were full of flavour and I'd definitely have them again. 

Russian Spring Punch


For the next course we were served a mini version of 2 main dishes that I think will be very popular. The Maple Bacon Burger was my favourite by a mile - it's the first thing my eyes were drawn to on the menu and definitely lived up to the chef's hype! The sweet and savoury mix is perfect. You get a strong but not too sweet or owerpowering taste of the maple syrup and we even used the chips to mop it up!

Red Berry Cheesecake 


Of course it wouldn't be Christmas without the traditional turkey and trimmings - my first one of the festive season and it was a good one! You can't really go wrong with it to be fair. I was pleased to see pigs in blankets on the plate as there would of been absolute devastation from Gordon without them! Roast potatoes are my fave but the pork and sage stuffing was a highlight, and I really enjoyed the cranberry sauce too. It ticked all the boxes anyway!

It was starting to feel a little too much like Christmas with our stuffed bellys, so it was time for a break...


Being the only man at the event, it was only a matter of time til Gordon was picked on. Andy invited him up to tackle the final cocktail of the night - The Snowman! It's a little too creamy for my taste but is probably the cutest drink I've ever seen...


Last but not least, was dessert. We were treated to the Cookie Cheesecake. This double layered oreo slice of heaven is made specially for the Filling Station so you won't find it anywhere else. It's 100% worth the visit just for this! 


It was great to see some familiar faces as well as meeting new people and we had a fun night. Thanks to Hannah and Lauren (and friends) for the good company, and a huge thank you to The Filling Station, especially Lauren, Andy & Andy, for having us! We left feeling festive and suitably full. I'd definitely recommend a trip to The Filling Station on Union Street or you can find the Christmas menu at their other branches in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and Inverness. At £22.95 for 3 courses, what's your excuse?

Christy xx

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Revolution Cocktail Masterclass

My friends got married yesterday!! We'll be joining them at their dance this weekend to celebrate but today I wanted to share the pre-wedding celebrations... A hen night full of cocktails and nibbles at Revolution Aberdeen...


Cheers!

Revolution is one of the first bars I ever went to in Aberdeen, around 7 years ago... I loved it then and I love it now.


The hen night fell on Hallowe'en weekend so we decided to set a theme and get dressed up for the occasion. In the end a bunch of excited, champagne-fueled superheroes and villains arrived at Rev. 

A couple of friendly bartenders and some yummy strawberry woo-woos were there to greet us. The food pairing aspect of the masterclass was a welcome surprise! Goats cheese bon bons were served with the woo woos and they were a match made in heaven. To be fair, anything with goats cheese wins with me!


Next up was a mojito - a refreshing minty drink complimented by the chilli flavoured breaded shrimp. A classic cosmopolitan was served with nachos and guacamole. We were talked through all the different flavours and how they work together, as well as how to mix each cocktail. Apparently a cosmo should never be shaken but rocked like a baby instead! Who knew?


The Tennessee Mudshake with chocolate bon bons was probably my favourite. Not my usual kind of cocktail but a good idea for dessert!


Now the best part - mixing our own cocktails! We were invited to choose any cocktail from the menu to shake up ourselves, with a little help from the pros. There was a huge variety of drinks being rustled up - Absolut Passion, Sweetshop, Amaretto Sours... I went for a Pornstar Martini! 


Passion fruit and prosecco make me happy! 

We got to play behind the bar a bit more, playing dominoes with shot glasses and having a race to see who could make their cocktail fastest - resulting in the bride and her bridesmaid downing chilli shots. It was a great day with a great bunch of girls, great hosts and even greater cocktails.


Our package included nibbles afterwards and we were treated to a huge platter of bruschetta, bread sticks, mini battered fish with tartare sauce, cajun chicken, pizzas and fruity mousse desserts served in shot glasses. Not bad for £30 each eh?


Afterwards we headed to my faves Bos'n nearby for some flaming sharing cocktails and ended the evening with cheesy karaoke at Cafe Bardot. A brilliant day/night from start to finish and a perfect send off for our bride!

I'd recommend Revolution's Cocktail Masterclass to anybody. Whether it's a hen night, birthday party or any other celebration you'll definitely have a good time!

Christy xx
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